Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Keeping folk out

"Whoever is not against us is for us"
Mark 9v40

So what makes us special, Lord?
What are the perks for us?
If just as much good can be done without all the baggage
without the label and the lifestyle
without the code and the creed
then why saddle us with all that paraphernalia?
Don't we deserve that little bit extra
for keeping out the undesirables
maintaining exclusivity in your church?
You can't really want just anyone performing miracles,
casting out demons
If we can't do it
then no one else should.
We're a closed shop.
Those who don't look the part
or act the part
those who don't know or care for the rules
simply cannot belong.
Let them go elsewhere and do their good works.
They're not welcome here.
And, when we dwindle and die
because of our ineffectiveness,
at least we can claim:
We did it in Jesus name.
That'll make it OK, won't it?
As long as we use your name.
And, if the imposters should effect more good than us,
it's just that they got lucky.
Nothing to do with joining you in mission.
Nothing to do with simply getting on with it
regardless of who gets the credit
No, we need to close ranks
do the best we can
to keep do-gooding folk out
all in the name of Jesus.

Reflecting on the gospel this week, we are reminded that servants of God come in all shapes and guises. Surely a salutary call for our tendency to exclude for all sorts of reasons - and for no reason at all. God's mission, thankfully, exceeds all our boundaries and dismantles all the barriers we erect.


Sarah said...

Beautiful poem! I love it, and it's a great query for God about why our churches are the way they are!

Nik said...

Good stuff, as ever, Liz.
A friend of mine was minister to 3 rural churches. One of them was pretty much dying. He organised a meeting with session and any other interested folk and basically stated that unless they were prepared to make some big changes, that congregation would die with them. And they nodded and said it was fine with them... Things really would change over their dead bodies.
It's not an unusual attitude; but what was so unusual was their absolute openness about it....